The Catholic Who Paved the Way for Martin Luther’s Reform

Three centuries before Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses on the church door at Wittenberg, Francis of Assisi had already rocked the Roman Church with radical, controversial and irrepressible reform. Whereas Luther brought to the foreground the concept of justification by grace through faith in contradistinction to the corrupt practices of the Catholic Church of his time, Francis of Assisi had not only brought the concept to the foreground of his religious movement, but had cleared the path for living… Read more

When Does a Girl Stop Missing Her Father?

My father died 22 years ago on this day. I am within 10 years of the age at which my father died and I think of him still, and miss him as if I were still 14 and he was helping me with my math. I hated it when he helped me with my math. He was good at math and I really stunk at it, never understood it, and became exasperated with his “helpfulness” in explaining how self-evident the… Read more

The Antidote for the World-weary: Spiritual Practice

In times such as those in which we live — a time of an unrelenting sorrow, violence, tumult, and outrage, the weariness of this broken world kindles for me the longing for light. Amid such darkness it can be hard to know where to begin and how to access that light. This is the challenge of all ages. Yet, in all ages, there have points of light in persons who might be called our champions of faith (whether or not they embraced… Read more

How Do You Finish a Life with Wounds? Thoughts on Saint Francis on His Feast Day

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Francis, which in the Catholic tradition, is the day to remember and celebrate the life and death of the saints. Francis died on this day 791 years ago, in 1226 after many years of contending with various debilitating illnesses. His final weeks are referred to by locals in Assisi still as sua agonia (his agony). As a Protestant, I derived great spiritual consolation from Saint Francis during a time when I was bereft of hope… Read more

Are You Ready for “After-birth Abortion”?

In an article in the Journal of Medical Ethics  the authors present the argument, on ethical grounds, that: “(1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases… Read more

Dante’s Hell ~ He Names Names

Famed Italian poet Dante Alighieri died this month almost 700 years ago, in 1321 (aged c. 56), and his work, The Divine Comedy, still carries resonance in our age of discord. La Divina Commedia — the first major work of literary poetry in Italian (as opposed to Latin) — is comprised of three parts, L’Inferno (Hell), Il Purgatorio (Purgatory) and Il Paradiso (Heaven) and Dante populates these spheres with real personalities, naming names. Many of Dante’s critics of the time took umbrage with those whom… Read more

Amid September 11 Remembrances, Think on the Curious Case of Tony Rooke

By Wendy Murray A Brit who took on the BBC and their staged reporting of the attacks of 9/11  ~ ~ and won: Tony Rooke.   In a story that was quickly overshadowed by the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon in April 2013, this fascinating story unfolded and is worth highlighting on this day of remembering the attacks of September 11. In the aftermath of the events of September 11, 49 year-old Tony Rooke had refused to pay his required TV… Read more

The Passengers of United Flight 93 Defined Their Moment

I was writing a book, titled Facing Forward, in September 2001, a memoir related to the uncertainties of mid-life. Then on a bright Tuesday morning, September 11, everything stopped. Uncertainties about mid-life were irrelevant. I joined our country in a collective lament. The world as we knew it ended that day and the world has not been the same since. I include below the concluding paragraphs of the chapter I was writing in the aftermath of  this sad day. In the end… Read more

A Shamed and Failed Knight ~ Saint Francis’ Other Life

For a knight — picture Ragnar Lothbrook — no greater humiliation befalls him than to fail, to be sent home on a horse. “You’re not needed here — thanks.” It upends everything knighthood stands for and, worse, violates every instinct an aspiring knight lives for. “Go home.” Or, to put it in modern vernacular, Get a job!  The quintessential feature that energizes and drives the aspirations of the knight is the cry “save us!” Have you heard the cliché A… Read more

Thoughts on Eugene Peterson’s Christian Repartee

by Wendy Murray I have been saying for a long time that Christians who devote much distemper and judgmentalism to the LGBT community are hypocrites and ought to apologize. I was reminded why I’ve been saying it in the wake of the tumult created when the beloved elder, writer, and pastor Eugene Peterson made charitable statements about his gay friends and church-goers. In an interview with Jonathan Merritt published by RNS, he was asked, “What’s your position on the morality… Read more

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